Indianapolis Colts: 5 Reasons the Colts Play First Ever Home-Field Super Bowl...and Win
The Indianapolis Colts 2010 season can only be seen as disappointing. Littered with injuries throughout the year, the Colts were doomed for failure but still managed to capture the AFC South division title. However, a heartbreaking loss to the NY Jets in the playoffs was clearly not on their wish list.
The 2011 season (if it even happens) will bring forth a completely different experience for Colts faithful, the rest of the NFL and the history of the game.
Here are the five reasons why you can count on the Colts playing in the first ever home field Super Bowl...and winning!
An overwhelming shadow of injury was cast over the Indianapolis Colts in 2010. Their roster missed over 50 percent more games than the 2009 season and over 100 percent more games than the 2008 season!
Clark (8), Collie (7), Garcon (2), Gonzalez (14), Addai (8), Brown (3), Hart (9), Brackett (4), Session (11), Muir (2), Eldridge (2), Bullitt (12), Hayden (5), Lacey (4), Powers (6), Moore (12) and Bob Sanders (15).
But at this point, Sanders does not really count. He is more injury prone then Greg Oden, Kerry Wood and Chad Pennington combined!
Both starting CB's and SS's were IR’d as well as Clark, Collie, Gonzalez, Santi, Moore and Swenson. Rarely has a team ever been so decimated by injury throughout the course of a season. Yet they still won the AFC South and made the playoffs.
Nearly all of these players are coming back at full strength for the 2011 season. Injury cannot possibly hit that hard again and won’t.
2. Improved Offensive Line
The Colts clear focus for the 2011 draft was to address their offensive line problems. With the selection of Anthony Castonzo (OT, Boston College) and Ben Ijalana (OT/OG Villanova), they seem to have found two cornerstones that can bring back the days of Tarik Glenn and Adam Meadows.
However, they will be secretly hoping that neither one of those selections will be anything like their recent failed draft picks of Tony Ugoh and Mike Pollack.
The Colts believe that they have found the men to secure their line and protect Peyton Manning until he retires, and so do I.
The Colts have had their fair share of ups and downs within their defensive unit over the past few seasons. In spurts they can be incredible, but then they fall off the map and become inexplicably unbearable. The Colts have put a defense together that is built on speed. This speed creates opportunities, but it also adds to injuries.
The Colts look to get back a slew of missing defensive starters from last season. With their SS's and CB's returning from IR and the departure of oft-injured Bob Sanders, the Colts once again are healthy and are not obligated to playing the league's most boom or bust (mostly bust) player.
The addition of Drake Nevis (DT Louisiana State), as well as emerging second-year Colts Jerry Hughes (DE) and John Chick (DE), will help the Colts stop the run and allow the aging defensive line to stay fresh. Freeney and Mathis, while not as young as they once were, are still considered the top DE package in football. The Colts defense will regain their defensive prowess in 2011.
4. Running Attack Is Back!
2010 proved treacherous for the Colts runners. Joseph Addai and Mike Hart missed half of the season to injury, and Donald Brown missed three games himself, mixed with sporadic play.
Addai is a free agent, but the Colts seem likely to re-sign him once the lockout ends. With the addition of fourth-round selection Delone Carter (RB Syracuse), the Colts finally have a strong runner to move the chains and cross the goal line.
This will leave fan favorite Mike Hart as the odd man out with Brown possessing more talent. Expect to see a rejuvenated running attack with Addai back on form backed up by Brown. With an improved offensive line, as well as Delone Carter entering the mix, the Colts will regain their running game.
This will open up the passing game even more. Which leads to the fifth and final reason...
5. No. 18
The Internet is littered with articles about the “advancing” age and growing inconsistency of Peyton Manning. While he may be getting older (and his commercial appearances are dwindling), he has shown no obvious signs of slowing down.
Completion percentage: 66.3 percent (up 1.4 percent from his career average)
Passing yards: 4,700 (career high)
Touchdowns: 33 (tied for second most in his career)
How is being above your career averages considered “slowing down?" With healthy weapons at his disposal, Manning will have a fantastic year and will lead the Colts to home-field advantage for the first time in Super Bowl history.
If that is not enough, you can also expect the Colts to raise the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the 2011-2012 season…but without being rained on this time.
Quote me on it!